When you file for disability and have both Mental and Physical Conditions

An anonymous commenter recently stated that they had communicated with the disability examiner who was working on their case and that the examiner had advised that they were done with the physical part of the claim and were now working on the mental part of the claim. The commenter stated "if they had found me disabled physically then why would they waste time and money on the mental? I feel sure I am about to be denied".

My response: Anonymous, I would not worry about this too much. The disability examiner is obligated to pursue development on your case for both a mental disability as well as physical impairments. This is because they have no way of knowing whether or not you will be found to be disabled for either impairment. And even if you were considered to be disabled on the basis of BOTH your physical and mental impairments, it might be that the medical evidence for one or both impairments might support an earlier onset date that would provide for more back pay.

For example, let's pretend that your medical evidence for your physical condition meets the definition of disability and that you could expect to be approved on the basis of this alone. How far back you will be awarded disability benefits will depend on the available evidence for your physical condition.

Let's further speculate that your mental condition likewise meets the definition of disability. Well, if the medical evidence for the mental condition supports an even earlier onset date (when your condition is considered to have become disabling in the way that the social security administration considers a person to be disabled), then it would definitely be to your advantage to have the mental aspect of your case evaluated because the further back the onset date is, the more you can receive in disability back pay.

Additionally, if your case is for title II Social Security Disability benefits (versus title 16 SSI disability benefits), then having the earliest possible onset date for your claim can make a real difference as to when your eligibility for medicare benefits will begin.

In summation, it is completely to your advantage for the disability examiner to fully develop (another way of saying consider all the evidence) both the physical and mental aspects of your claim. This is for two reasons:

1. You may be found disabled for one type of impairment but not the other.

2. Even if you are found to be disabled for both the mental and physical aspects of your case, it may be that one of your impairments (mental or physical) has medical evidence that allows for an earlier and more advantageous onset date. And, as we've said, this can have an impact on how much back pay benefits you may receive as well as on how soon you can receive your medicare benefits (assuming you file for Social Security Disability--SSI applicants are not eligible for medicare but can receive medicaid instead).

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability in North Carolina

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Tips to Prepare for Filing for Social Security Disability or SSI

Advice to Win SSD and SSI Benefit Claims

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

What is the difference between Social Security Disability and SSI?

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

Related pages:

Can You Work and Collect Social Security Disability in North Carolina?
Can You Get Approved For SSI or SSD Benefits IF You Have A Mental Condition But Do Not Take Medication?
Will Your Claim for Disability be Handled Differently if it is Based on a Physical or Mental Problem?
Can I Qualify For Disability and Receive Benefits based on Depression?
The Social Security Disability and SSI Process for Mental Claims based on Mental Disorders
When you file for disability and have both Mental and Physical Conditions
What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?
Are SSI and Social Security Disability Requirements Tougher For Mental Claims?
Social Security Disability, SSI, Mental Disorders, and Functional Limitations
Can you draw Social Security Disability on a spouse's Social Security earnings record?
If you apply for disability in Ohio
Will I qualify for disability Benefits in Ohio?
Getting a Disability Lawyer in Ohio
How do you appeal your disability denial in Ohio?